5 Games I Love to Use in Group Counseling

One of my favorite ways to teach and practice concepts in group counseling is to use games. Students are automatically more engaged and buy-in quickly when they know we get to play! Below are 5 of my favorite games for group counseling that help kids practice so many different skills that we teach in school counseling!

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Games for Group Counseling

1. Freeze Dance

Why I love it: First of all, it’s just fun! Kids need time to move their bodies and have fun to break up periods of sitting. But when we play Freeze Dance, we can work on a variety of skills. First, students have to practice self control and body control to ensure they don’t bump into anyone or invade personal space. They also have to use active listening to recognize when the music stops while moving their bodies. There’s also a period of delayed gratification: we stop doing the fun movement for a moment (maybe to talk or share), but we get to do it again in a moment. You can also use it as an opportunity to practice following 2-step instructions by adding a second task after they freeze!

Add a Counseling Twist:

  • When the music stops, freeze and then compliment the person to your right.
  • When the music stops, freeze and show me your favorite yoga pose.
  • When the music stops, freeze and take 5 belly breaths.

2. Waterfalls & Vines

Why I love it: This is a game I made for my students that is similar to Chutes and Ladders. I love it because we have conversation or demonstration prompts for any topic that we can use with just this one game! I use this game with my anxiety group, anger group, coping skills group, friendship group, and more! Aside from the prompts, this game offers a great opportunity for dealing with disappointment: when students land on the top of the waterfall, they slide down, moving backward in the game. We practice taking a few deep breaths when this happens to calm our bodies and then remind ourselves, “It’s no big deal – it’s just a game!”

Add a counseling twist:

  • This game has tons of counseling twists with the conversation prompts that are included!
Looking for some awesome games for group counseling? You’ll love these 5 games that are student-tested and approved!

3. Jenga

Why I love it: There are so many reasons to love Jenga but it’s great for counseling skills as well. Again, students have to use self control in order to not knock over the tower. They also need to plan ahead and problem solve to choose just the right block to remove. We also have the opportunity to deal with disappointment when the tower falls!

Add a counseling twist:

  • Put colored dots on your Jenga blocks and assign conversation prompts to each color for a variety of topics.
  • After students pull a block, they share a fact about themselves.
  • After students pull a block, they are a fact about their family.

4. Uno

Why I love it: Uno is a favorite with all of my students, no matter the reason! It’s great to play while just having a conversation, but it’s great for groups too. Students can practice planning and organizing by putting their cards in color or number order. They can also practice dealing with disappointment when they are skipped or have to draw 2 (or 4!). It’s also a great strategy game to encourage students to think ahead to use their wild cards wisely or plan how they will efficiently play their cards to win!

Add a counseling twist:

  • Assign questions or conversation prompts to each color.
  • Practice calming strategies as a group each time a Skip, Draw 2, or Draw 4 is played

5. Pictionary & Charades

Why I love these: I love seeing students use their creativity! Pictionary and Charades let that shine. It’s a great game to encourage attention to detail as students who are guessing watch the details that are added to the drawings or details that are acted out. It’s also great to encourage flexible thinking or looking at things in different ways. Students who are guessing use flexible thinking and students who are drawing or action may have to try again in a new way to help the others guess.

Add a counseling twist:

  • Have students draw or act out feelings
  • Have students draw or act out calming strategies

Want more tips, tricks, and guidance for doing your best group counseling yet?

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Looking for some awesome games for group counseling? You’ll love these 5 games that are student-tested and approved! These are great counseling games for group counseling, games for classroom guidance lessons, and games for individual counseling.

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